Intel's Core i7 870 & i5 750, Lynnfield: Harder, Better, Faster Strongerby Anand Lal Shimpi on September 8, 2009 12:00 AM EST
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Intel is on the verge of transitioning to 32nm. We'll see the first parts this year. What do you do with your 45nm fabs when you start moving volume away from them? Make really cheap quad-core Nehalems of course:
I'm talking $196. I'm talking faster than AMD's entire lineup. I'm talking about arguably the best processor of 2009. I'm talking about Lynnfield, and here's its backside:
I spent much of the past year harping on AMD selling Nehalem-sized Phenom IIs for less than Intel sold Nehalems. With Lynnfield, Intel actually made Nehalem even bigger all while driving prices down. Like I said, what do you do when you're still making boatloads of money in a recession and are about to start emptying your 45nm fabs?
I should clear things up before we progress much further. Lynnfield is the codename for mainstream 45nm quad-core Nehalem, while Bloomfield refers to the first Nehalem launched at the end of 2008:
|Processor||Manufacturing Process||Die Size||Transistor Count||Socket|
Despite being cheaper, Lynnfield is larger than Bloomfield. The larger die is due to one major addition: an on-die PCIe controller.
Bloomfield, The First Nehalem, circa 2008
Lynnfield, Nehalem for All, circa 2009
The pink block to the right of the die is the PCIe controller, that's 16 PCIe 2.0 lanes coming right off the chip. Say hello to ultra low latency GPU communication. You'd think that Intel was about to enter the graphics market or something with a design like this.
Sacrifices were made to reduce CPU, socket and board complexity. Gone are the two QPI links that each provided 25.6GB/s of bandwidth to other CPUs or chips on the motherboard. We also lose one of the three 64-bit DDR3 memory channels, Lynnfield only has two like a normal processor (silly overachieving Bloomfield).
Intel's Bloomfield Platform (X58 + LGA-1366)
The sum is that Lynnfield is exclusively single-socket; there will be no LGA-1156 Skulltrail. While the dual-channel memory controller isn't really a limitation for quad-core parts, six and eight core designs may be better suited for LGA-1366.
Intel's Lynnfield Platform (P55 + LGA-1156)
The loss of QPI means that Lynnfield doesn't have a super fast connection to the rest of the system, but with an on-die PCIe controller it doesn't matter: the GPU is fed right off the CPU.
We get three Lynnfield CPUs today: the Core i7 870, Core i7 860 and the Core i5 750. Intel's branding folks told us that the naming would make sense one we saw the rest of the "Core" parts introduced; yeah that was pretty much a lie. At least there aren't any overlapping part numbers (e.g. Core i5 860 and Core i7 860).
The i7 in this case denotes four cores + Hyper Threading, the i5 means four cores but no Hyper Threading. The rules get more complicated as you bring notebooks into the fray but let's momentarily bask in marginal simplicity.
|Processor||Clock Speed||Cores / Threads||Maximum Single Core Turbo Frequency||TDP||Price|
|Intel Core i7-975 Extreme||3.33GHz||4 / 8||3.60GHz||130W||$999|
|Intel Core i7 965 Extreme||3.20GHz||4 / 8||3.46GHz||130W||$999|
|Intel Core i7 940||2.93GHz||4 / 8||3.20GHz||130W||$562|
|Intel Core i7 920||2.66GHz||4 / 8||2.93GHz||130W||$284|
|Intel Core i7 870||2.93GHz||4 / 8||3.60GHz||95W||$562|
|Intel Core i7 860||2.80GHz||4 / 8||3.46GHz||95W||$284|
|Intel Core i5 750||2.66GHz||4 / 4||3.20GHz||95W||$196|
Keeping Hyper Threading off of the Core i5 is purely done to limit performance. There aren't any yield reasons why HT couldn't be enabled.
Intel was very careful with both pricing and performance of its Lynnfield processors. I'm going to go ahead and say it right now, there's no need for any LGA-1366 processors slower than a Core i7 965:
This is only one benchmark, but it's representative of what you're about to see. The Core i7 870 (LGA-1156) is as fast, if not faster, than every single LGA-1366 processor except for the ones that cost $999. Its pricing is competitive as well:
For $196 you're getting a processor that's faster than the Core i7 920. I'm not taking into account motherboard prices either, which are anywhere from $50 - $100 cheaper for LGA-1156 boards. I don't believe LGA-1366 is dead, but there's absolutely no reason to buy anything slower than a 965 if you're going that route.
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jnr0077 - Thursday, July 26, 2012 - linkwell i have the better model i5 750 1156 socket gaming score is 5.9 on basic 500 gb hd 7200 with a ssd it hit 7.9 on a gigabyte GA-P55A-UD6 12gb ram. as for the price
cost was cheep intel (R)quad core (TM) i5 750 @2.66 GHz 2.67GHz cost around £100 mobo cost me £100 i though it is a very cheep upgrade considering price i wood like to here what score any Pehnom II X4 965 hit
Milleman - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - linkThe article itself is good. But Why on earth compare a standard clocked CPU (AMD) against overclocked ones (Intel). Makes no objective sense att all. I's like having a car test between a standard car and a tuned racecar. Of course the racecar will win in performance. The overclock results shouldn't be there at all. Maybe as a remark that tell what will happen if one would like to overclock. Looks rather unfair and biased.
Nich0 - Sunday, September 13, 2009 - linkAll I saw in this article is comparison of CPUs in their stock configuration. What's wrong with that?
Bozo Galora - Friday, September 11, 2009 - linkI must say this was a very good logical coherent review with just about all the info one would require
Good job - I had no intention of getting one of these, but now I may change my mind
IntelUser2000 - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - linkhttp://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-0299...">http://www.intel.com/support/processors/sb/CS-0299...
According to Intel...
Core i7 870:
Core i7 860:
Core i5 750:
So the i7 870 has higher Turbo mode for 3 and 4 cores than 860 does.
Nich0 - Friday, September 11, 2009 - linkYeah and that means that the OC numbers for the 750 with Turbo don't make sense. For example 4160 / 160 = 26 which would be a Turbo of 6 BCLK.
Same thing for the 860 OC 3C/4C Turbo number.
Am I missing something?
IntelUser2000 - Friday, September 11, 2009 - linkIts likely Anand has ES versions or such which allows multiplier adjustments. But at stock, the linked speeds are the Turbo Boost grades.
Nich0 - Friday, September 11, 2009 - linkYeah obviously I am not disputing the stock OC with Turbo enabled (that sounds weird: stock OC?), ie 160*20= 3200, but just what it means in terms of Turbo: it 'should' read 3.36 for 3/4C and 3.84 for 1/2C if the 1/1/4/4 Turbo spec is correct.
rdkone - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - linkI don't like the fact that the BCLK directly and synchronously communicates with PCIe buss, thus affecting the videocard negatively (among other PCIe cards)... This is like overclocking years ago whereas the PCI bus would be affected in the same way and causing headaches... This is a major issue I feel for those wanting to push a fairly big overclock on these CPU's... Intel screwed the pooch for us overclockers I feel... Just more justification to limp along with my core 2 quad at 4.1Ghz rock solid... Like others have said, is funny how the articles don't show older CPU overclocks against all this new garb... In the past they used to... But that hurts sales : )
SnowleopardPC - Thursday, September 10, 2009 - linkOk, so what type of boost do I get over a Q6600 with 8gb of ram and windows 7 64?
Is it worth upgrading or waiting for that 6 core 32nm to come out next year?
To upgrade to any of these I will need to replace a motherboard and ram with the processor.